San Diego Padre’s relief pitcher Daniel Camarena made the unlikely Thursday night against the Washington Nationals – hitting a grand slam against one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Camarena made his second career record appearance when he stepped up to strike out against Max Scherzer. Trent Grisham, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers were on base in the fourth inning when Camarena launched the ball to the right field.
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The Camarenas’ home run was part of a nine-run comeback that ended in a Padres 9-8 victory.
“Oh my God, I turned black,” the rookie said of his home run. “I hit first base, and then I suddenly noticed that the lights were flashing in the stadium, and that was when it kind of hit, like: Oh, my god, I just hit a home run. Not just that, a grand slam.”
Camarena was put into play in the fourth inning for Yu Darvish. He said he was just trying to find some space between outfielders, “especially against Max, which is hard to do, so I just tried with everything I had to put a ball in play.”
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He became the second pitcher in MLB history whose first hit was a grand slam. The first was Bill Duggleby, who did so for the Philadelphia Phillies on April 21, 1898.
He was the first relief pitcher to hit a grand slam since Don Robinson made it to the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 12, 1985, and was the first Padres player to have a grand slam for his first hit. The last player to have a grand slam for his first hit was San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.
“Down 8-0 to Max Scherzer, our ace goes out of the game, we get a grand slam from a pitcher just called in today, probably at the top,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “It’s special, and that’s why I’m convinced we want to do special things, just because of the way we fight. We do not lie down, we just keep going.”
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San Diego moves to 52-38 with the win and the Nationals fall to 42-44.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.